Thanks for the cites @Ruken. Hard to do deep dives while at work.
I just happened to have been been reading about the topic recently. I’ve not vetted methodology on any of these.
I’m not the person you’re responding to, but most studies looking at poor vs rich schools look at the average socioeconomic status of the students and their families: “high poverty” vs “low poverty.” For federal purposes, the usual metric is the percentage of the students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches: in a low-poverty school or district, fewer than 25% are, while in a high-poverty district, more than three-quarters of the students are.
Federal money to such schools is usually earmarked for specific programs, such as the school lunch program, which means it is NOT money available for textbooks or computers or teachers’ aides or field trips or school libraries, etc., etc., etc. Similarly, money for special education programs is tied to the number of students with documented physical or mental impairments, and isn’t money available for the rest of the students.
This article, while specifically about Connecticut, documents some of the ways where school funding matters: in poorer districts, more students have to share fewer computers, which means each student gets less time, while staff also have less time to work with troubled or misbehaving students, leading to higher suspension and dropout rates.
That attitude pretty much answers your question right there. I can be pretty sure your friend did not raise himself up by his own bootstraps but I wouldn’t be surprised if he believed that he did.
And that right there is your evidence of ongoing racism. Imprison a whole class of people, then wait centuries before giving them basic human rights, then more decades before giving them the vote, and then more decades before allowing them to share public spaces, and then continue blatant discrimination, even government-sponsored discrimination in housing, and then say that their socioeconomic problems are a result of their own culture.
This is the old “pull themselves up by the their own bootstraps” concept. It has been shown that people born into poverty tend to remain in poverty and people born into wealth tend to remain wealthy. It has also been shown that giving disadvantaged people a more advantageous environment when they are young yields better long-term outcomes.
I agree that many successful people underestimate the advantages they had - if only winning the genetic lottery. Born on 3d base, thinking they hit a triple! Having said that, this person DID have some pretty significant disadvantages when young (absent father, alcoholic mother, etc.) But they are one of the smartest people I know (however I define/perceive that.)
I asked the person how they thought they would have done if they had been born of color, in a poor neighborhood, in a high crime area, lousy schools, etc. They acknowledged they likely would not have accomplished as much - but that does not necessarily establish racism as the cause of those societal disadvantages/challenges.
I have not studied the topic, but my understanding is that the single greatest factor in determining school success is the parents’ income/education/involvement. Of course, given local funding, that is difficult to isolate. On the flipside, I recall it being challenging to establish that the simple injection of more money directly results in greater success.
At the risk of overly expanding this thread, what is the reason/validity of ANY “cultural” stereotypes? Asians and other immigrants placing high value on academic success. Jewish people succeeding in business and supporting each other. Do I just not hear about the ignorant/lazy Asians/Jews? (Many) hispanics as hardworking, with socioeconomic improvement over generations. Of course, some of the worst gangs are hispanic…
I realize there is crime, substance abuse, and every manner of ignorance in poor communities of all colors. I perceive most of those issues as “economic” - but acknowledge there might be a “chicken and egg” issue. I occasionally find myself thinking - well, if whites hate Blacks, why don’t Blacks support each other in an insular manner? Like the “stereotypical” jewish communities, or any number of ethnic neighborhoods in big cities. My suspicion is that many people of color do just that - but their very success causes them to become invisible to me. Successful people minding their own business don’t often appear on the news.
Like I said - I recognize how ignorant these questions seem. Thanks all for your respectful discussion.
Yeah - that is close to something else I said, commenting on how recent the Civl War - and even the Civil Rights Act was, then add in lack of color in government, industry, law firms, etc.
Not to mention things like the extras provided by wealthy PTA’s, school auctions, etc. Some wealthy public schools here can easily pull in $100,000 from the school auction. My friend’s kid’s French class all went to France last year.
I don’t think you’re going to convince anyone who’s making the “black culture” argument. This is just a new buzzword for old-fashioned racism. It used to eugenics and blaming people for causing their own problems due to bad genes. Science has killed that argument. So racists just moved to a softer science and now claim people are causing their own problems due to their “culture”. Nobody can explain what this culture is or where it comes from or how it works but the central argument is it’s all black people’s fault.
It’s clear there is some racism going on because groups like the KKK still exist and people still spread hate.
But I do think there is a tendency to jump to immediately calling some of the inequalities in the US racism when they are actually classism. I don’t make this assertion because I want to deny that racism is happening but rather because the solution for classism is different than the solution for racism.
I agree there are issues where people experience problems because they are poor rather than because they are black. But this just moves the conversation to the next question; why are black people disproportionately poor? That’s probably due to racism.
Yes, we should recognize and work on fixing the problems of poverty. But we should also recognize and work on fixing the problem of racism pushing black people towards poverty.
And we also always remember that the problem of racism is not the same as the problem of poverty. Most black people are not poor - but they still experience racism.
In CA public schools are primarily funded by state and local taxes. Local taxes make-up about 1/3 of the total. So, if you live in a higher-priced community, it’s likely your schools will be equally well-funded, and if you live in a community with lower-cost housing, the school funds will be commensurate with that.
And that is where the problem is rooted - black and other people of color often cannot afford the newer and more expensive homes that support the more well-funded schools. Why can’t they afford to live there? A history of red-lining, banks not wanting to loan to someone who may have been incarcerated, being incarcerated means missing out on educational opportunity or vocational training so they cannot get a larger paycheck, etc, etc. like dominoes. A young black male getting locked-up is instantly going to have a tougher time just staying equal to a white peer thru life. So he and his family live where they can afford, which is likely the area with the school that has less available funds than the one up the road in the suburbs. And the cycle repeats.
The fact that schools are segregated by economics can be evidence of ongoing racism.
Poverty rates by race or ethnic group is probably large indicator of systemic racism. By absolute numbers there are more whites in poverty than any other race in the US, but that is due to whites being in the majority.
Poverty rate by race and # in millions
White 10% 21MM
Hispanic 18% 9MM
Black 21% 9MM
Asian 10% 2MM
Native Americans 25% 1MM
Other 15% 1MM
I agree we need to ask the question, “why are black people disproportionately poor?” And it seems clear to me racism is the ultimate cause. But then we also need to ask the question, “Is it due to racism in the past or racism now?” Again, this is not to try to hide or deny the racism, but because the solution will be different depending on the answer.
And to clarify my class-ism position, I’m not proposing that we try to ‘fix’ poverty but rather fight discrimination due to differences in wealth and social status. Certainly, ending poverty would be a good thing but I don’t see it as a viable solution here.
How do we know it’s merely socioeconomic problems and NOT culture, even if that culture was significantly shaped by systemic racism and poverty? Or that moving disadvantaged people into an advantageous environment is effective because of the transfer of attitudes and priorities? Or that people born into wealth stay wealthy because they have the attitudes and priorities that allow them to remain so, and the same for people in poverty?
As far as I can tell, we don’t really know why. I know that white, middle class society has a pretty intense emphasis on educational achievement and competition, and so do most Asian cultures. Is this because they’re socioeconomically advantaged, or is it the cause of their socioeconomic advantage? Chicken or egg? I can say that in my paternal family, in the span of four generations, we went from an illiterate runaway laborer/longshoreman to a successful banker who worked his way up from teller to VP, and his son was a college graduate and a professional and his son (me) has two postgraduate degrees and is pretty successful in my own right. I think family attitudes and priorities have something to do with that. My wife’s family is very similar- from sharecroppers or poor dirt farmers to a lawyer in four generations.
That’s not to say that racism and poverty aren’t holding people back- they most certainly are, but they’re not the only reasons for sure.
And if the answer is both?
Well, here’s one.
I was just now doing vocab picture cards for my class, and one word I needed was “kalla” (for the song “L’cha Dodi”), which word is pretty much translated bride. It’s a rare 1:1 word, so I just needed a few diverse pictures of brides.
First several hundred pictures were white women in white dresses. Pretty, young, thin white women. (Used one of them, but just one.)
Then I hit two white women in white dresses, kissing (used that picture). Then, I began to get women in ethnic dress, mostly Indian (the subcontinent), and pictures of Elsa Lanchester in the movie The Bride of Frankenstein. (Used one Else Lanchester pic for laughs.) Then there were some women from African countries in traditional dress, with was no context to show whether they were actual nomadic people, or people from say, Nairobi in traditional dress for their weddings. The only two African-American women I hit before the page ran out were from the TV show Bridezilla.
I had to specifically Google “African-American bride” to find a black woman in a western, traditional white dress. And there were very few Asian American women dressed like this either. I used a picture of my sister-in-law (with permission) to have a Korean-American in a white bridal dress.
Also Googled “Sephardic Bride” for a great pic of a women in tradition anything-but-white, and definitely looking like the Shabbat Queen.
The Hortons live just minutes from the Ortega River, in a predominantly white neighborhood of 1950s homes that tend to sell for $350,000 to $550,000. They had expected their home to appraise for around $450,000, but the appraiser felt differently, assigning a value of $330,000. Ms. Horton, who is Black, immediately suspected discrimination.
The couple’s bank agreed that the value was off and ordered a second appraisal. But before the new appraiser could arrive, Ms. Horton, a lawyer, began an experiment: She took all family photos off the mantle. Instead, she hung up a series of oil paintings of Mr. Horton, who is white, and his grandparents that had been in storage. Books by Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison were taken off the shelves, and holiday photo cards sent by friends were edited so that only those showing white families were left on display. On the day of the appraisal, Ms. Horton took the couple’s 6-year-old son on a shopping trip to Target, and left Mr. Horton alone at home to answer the door.
The new appraiser gave their home a value of $465,000 — a more than 40 percent increase from the first appraisal.
The arrest rate for drug offenses despite whites and blacks having similar rates of drug usage.
Wealth inequality which is in part due to redlining and refusal of banks to loan money to previous generations, making it hard for them to create intergenerational wealth via home ownership (ironically, those impoverished inner city houses in Los Angeles ghettos are worth mid six figures now though. Median home price in Compton CA is about 500k now). This still happens because some studies have found black people are more likely to be pushed into riskier mortgages even when their credit is the same as whites.
Studies on how people are less likely to get a callback or interview if they have a black sounding name vs a white sounding name.
Or the multiple similar studies where they send two actors with identical fake backgrounds and identical applications in to rent an apartment - and white actors are shown apartments and while Black actors are told there are no vacancies.
Or the similar studies where the two actors are sent in to get home loans and white actors are shown traditional loans and Black actors get pointed to sub-prime loans with worse terms.
Or the multiple similar studies where medical professionals are given identical case studies, and undertreat pain for Black patients, miss diagnoses for Black patients, and/or don’t bother to treat the Black patients at all.
Or the multiple similar studies where they control for everything but race - and yet, there’s still a statistically significant difference in the way people of different races are treated. It has nothing to do with the way that individuals might act or their personal histories (because those factors have been flattened out and in many studies, there are no actual people - the two pieces of paper did not act differently, neither sheet of paper was “ignorant” or “slothful.”) It has everything to do with the way that people made race based decisions.